“I’m frustrated.” She let out a heavy sigh. “We’re having to go back to something we spoke about 3 months ago. I feel like I’m wasting your time. I’m not progressing as quickly as I should.”
I felt my client’s pain. We’ve all been there. We’ve all tried to change something in our life and expected great and quick results. Sometimes, it doesn’t pan out the way we planned.
Through coaching, we can pre-empt some of the obstacles we’ll face and find ways to deal with them, but it doesn’t mean we’ll be happy about the setbacks. Sometimes illness, injuries or life commitments slow us down. Sometimes apathy, boredom or a heavy heart threatens to make us quit.
So how to we continue to stay motivated when we’re in the trenches?
My client and I zoomed out. We looked at the bigger picture. She had made some amazing progress over the last few months. Not only had she set up a few changes to eating and work patterns, but she had set up a daily practice of gentle exercise. She had even gotten straight back to it after some big obstacles. Obstacles that would have made most people quit.
The problem was, the setbacks were disheartening. No one wants to keep trudging on with something when it feels like everything is against them.
We rewound to our first conversation. We spoke about what she wanted to get out of coaching and forming new habits. She wasn’t looking for a quick fix. She wasn’t trying to lose weight to fit into a new pair of jeans or look good for someone else. If she was, we would have set very different goals. What she was wanting, was to be a healthier person in her life. She wanted to look at her life in 10 years and see someone who exercises regularly. She wanted to be able to go on walks with her family without physical pain. She wanted to live a healthy and happy life. This wasn’t a short-term goal. She wanted to change her lifestyle.
We looked at the progress over the last 3 months. We looked at all the things we had learnt about her behaviour, her patterns of thinking, the sorts of things that tended to trip her up. We discovered that we had worked through a lot of internal barriers. We had gone over limiting beliefs from childhood. We had learnt about self-talk and beliefs around worthiness. We had learnt about the value of time and beliefs around busyness. We had learnt about simple behaviour patterns at different times of the day. She had learnt so much about herself that she could predict internal barriers before they even happened. This wasn’t only helpful for her healthy lifestyle goals, this was helpful in all areas of her life.
My client discovered that she had learnt how to deal with so many internal barriers over the last 3 months, that she could transfer these skills to work, relationships, personal goals and so much more. It really was only external barriers that were holding her back. Things that were out of her control. And for these things, we talked about the mindset that is most helpful when they occur. She was beginning to see that external barriers were the only set-backs and by working through her internal barriers, she was overcoming external barriers quicker and better all the time.
Imagine realising that. Imagine realising that no matter what external barriers crop up, you can overcome it. It’s a great feeling to know that you have control over everything that really matters. You may not be able to control the outside world, but you can control your inside world. It’s this key that will keep you going when things get tough. It’s this key that will change your life.
The long game is not easy but it’s worth it.
3 Tips on Keeping Momentum
- Check back in with your why regularly. Make a note in your diary every week or two weeks to do a check-in. Are you still doing this for a reason that is compelling to you? Is this still something you really want for your life? Look at the bigger picture. Are you becoming the person you want to be? If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track. The reminder of your why might be enough to reinvigorate you. If not, see below.
- Talk to someone about the things you’ve learnt on the journey or make a list in your journal. What have you learnt about your character? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What is something you never knew about yourself before? When we are aiming for a long-term goal, it’s important to see the benefits of the journey. There is good in everything we do. If we’re not winning, we’re learning.
- Consider what external barriers have cropped up and note how you struggled. Consider what internal barriers have cropped up and note how you struggled. Is there a common theme? Where do you consistently struggle? Consider how you can get help. Do you need a friend for accountability? Do you need a coach to talk through things? Do you need a tick list to get things done? Do you need more equipment or resources? Invest in yourself. Figure out the challenge that keeps cropping up and dedicate the time and resources to resolve it once and for all.